Home » Phrasal Verbs » 28 phrasal verbs with take

Take is one of the most common verbs in English, and it is used in a lot of phrasal verbs.

Many of these phrasal verbs are used frequently and are very useful.

Here are 28 micro-listening exercises, each with a different phrasal verb with take. Listen to the phrasal verbs being used in context, and try and understand every word. Think about what the meaning of the phrasal verb is, and then check the explanation. Good luck!

to take something apart

.
small I love and together .

About this phrasal verb

to take something apart means to dismantle or disassemble something.

If your computer is broken, you might take it apart to identify and fix the problem (if you know what you’re doing!).

e.g. I’m warning you – if you take that apart you’ll never get it back together again.

to be taken aback

About this phrasal verb

to be taken aback means to be surprised or shocked by something.

e.g. He’s never spoken to me like that before – I was quite taken aback to be honest.

Note that this phrasal verb is usually used in the passive, i.e. I was taken aback rather than *Something took me aback.

to take after somebody

About this phrasal verb

to take after somebody means to be similar – physically or in terms of your personality – to an older member of your family, usually your parents (and maybe your grandparents).

e.g. I’ve got nothing in common with my parents at all – I don’t take after either of them.

This phrasal verb described someone’s inherited features, so it doesn’t make sense to say someone takes after their friend, for example.

You can find more take after listening exercises here.

to take something back (1)

About this phrasal verb

One meaning of the phrasal verb to take something back is to return an item you have bought to the shop or seller it came from.

e.g. I tried taking that shirt back to the shop but they wouldn’t give me a refund because I’d lost the receipt.

to take something back (2)

About this phrasal verb

The phrasal verb to take something back can be used to apologise for something you said or to admit that something you said was wrong.

When you take something back, you are withdrawing or ‘unsaying’ it.

This is a useful phrasal verb to use when you say something bad (maybe because you’re angry) and then immediately regret it.

e.g. I take that back – I shouldn’t have said that.

to take somebody back

About this phrasal verb

If something takes you back, then it makes you remember a particular time or place in the past.

This tends to be used in a nostalgic way. It is often tastes, smells, and sounds that suddenly transport us to an earlier time in our lives that we hadn’t thought about for years.

e.g. The smell of suncream instantly takes me back to summer holidays as a child.

to take something down

About this phrasal verb

The phrasal verb take something down can mean to write something down or to make a note of something.

e.g. This would usually be used with specific details, such as names, numbers etc. e.g. If you like I can take down your email address, and then we’ll let you know when we have this item back in stock.

to take somebody in

About this phrasal verb

If you take somebody in, then you allow them to move into your home.

This could be in return for payment (a lodger for example, pays rent for a room in someone’s house) or because you are looking after someone who needs a place to live.

e.g. I’m so lucky that my friend took me in when I lost my home. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.

to take something in

About this phrasal verb

To take something in means to process, absorb, accept or understand information or news.

We usually use it for things that are difficult (e.g. complicated information) or upsetting (e.g. sad news).

e.g. The teacher speaks very fast, so it’s impossible to take in everything she says.

to be taken in

About this phrasal verb

If you are taken in by something, then you are tricked into believing or trusting something that you shouldn’t – you’ve been deceived.

e.g. I’m embarrassed to say that I was taken in by a very convincing phishing email, and handed over my bank details.

to take off

About this phrasal verb

When something takes off, it begins to fly.

This is used literally to talk about birds, planes, rockets and so on. e.g. Please fasten your seatbelts – the plane will be taking off in the next few minutes.

We also use this phrasal verb metaphorically, to say that something is beginning to be successful or to show progress. e.g. My French really took off when I moved to Paris.

to take somebody on

About this phrasal verb

To take somebody on means to hire somebody or give them a job.

e.g. I was taken on as an apprentice when I was 17, and over the next 40 years I worked my way up to the top of the company.

to take something on

About this phrasal verb

To take something on means to accept additional work or responsibilities. Imagine your boss offers you an additional project or task. If you accept it, then you are agreeing to take it on.

e.g. I really appreciate you taking on the new client – I’m just way too busy at the moment.

to take something out (1)

About this phrasal verb

To take something out means to remove something from somewhere.

e.g. Could everyone please take out their books and open them on page 39.

e.g. It’s a good email but I think you can take out the second paragraph – it’s not really necessary.

to take something out (2)

About this phrasal verb

Another meaning of the phrasal verb take something out is to arrange to obtain something from a bank (or similar institution). Most frequently, this is used for loans and insurance.

e.g. Sarah discovered that John had taken out several large loans without telling her.

to take something out on somebody

About this phrasal verb

The phrasal verb to take something out on someone is used when we treat someone badly because we feel angry, tired or stressed.

The person we treat badly hasn’t done anything wrong, but they’re the victim of us releasing our negative feelings.

e.g. Ignore him. He’s just grumpy because he slept badly and he’s taking it out on everyone.

to take over

About this phrasal verb

To take over means to take control or responsibility. 

e.g. How about you drive for another hour, and then I’ll take over. 

to take somebody through something

About this phrasal verb

If you take somebody through something then you explain something carefully to someone.

e.g. Please can you take me through it one more time, just so I’m clear?

to take to something

About this phrasal verb

The phrasal verb to take to something means to start liking something new.

e.g. I wasn’t expecting Will to enjoy tennis, but he took to it immediately.

You can also use this phrasal verb for people. e.g. Mike’s having a difficult time at school. He just hasn’t taken to his new teacher.

to take something up (1)

About this phrasal verb

The phrasal verb to take something up means to start a new hobby or activity.

e.g. I need to get in shape, so I’ve decided to take up running.

We can also use this phrasal verb to talk about starting a new job or role.

e.g. I’ll be leaving the company next month to take up a new role elsewhere.

to take something up (2)

About this phrasal verb

When something takes up time, space, energy etc, then it occupies or uses it.

e.g. Can we get rid of that massive sofa? It takes up way too much space.

to take somebody up on something

About this phrasal verb

To take somebody up on something means to accept an offer from somebody.

e.g. Thanks for offering to lend us your campervan this summer. We might have to take you up on that!

to take something up with somebody

About this phrasal verb

To take something up with somebody means to begin a discussion about something with someone. This is usually used for more serious or official subjects.

e.g. I don’t think anyone is listening to my concerns, so I’m going to take this up with the department head.

to take something away (1)

About this phrasal verb

We use the phrasal verb to take something away from something to talk about the main information we get from something, such as a meeting, a lecture, a conversation.

e.g. What I took away from my chat with him is that he’s generally feeling a lot more positive about things.

We use the noun takeaway to communicate the same idea.

e.g. We’ve covered a lot of matierial in this lecture, but there are five key takeaways I want to focus on.

to take something away (2)

About this phrasal verb

A basic meaning of to take something away from something is to remove or subtract something.

e.g. My maths is awful – what do you get if you take 37 away from 59?

e.g. I need to clear the table. Can you take away your books?

More metaphorically, we use this to talk about something bad detracting from something good.

e.g. We really enjoyed the wedding. It’s just a shame the awful weather took away from it a little bit.

to take somebody out

About this phrasal verb

To take someone out means to go somewhere (a restaurant, the cinema, etc) with someone, and organising or paying for it.

e.g. Results have been so good recently that my boss is taking the whole team out to celebrate.

to take something out of somebody

About this phrasal verb

If something takes it out of you, then it tires or exhausts you.

e.g. Hang on, I need a rest to get my breath back. That hill really took it out of me.

to take time off

About this phrasal verb

When you take time off, you are having a rest of a break from something. This is usually used about a break from work.

e.g. I’ve got some spare holiday left, so I’m going to take a week off at the end of November.

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